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Updated March 2017

Best Soda Makers

Updated March 2017
KitchenAid
Sparkling Beverage Maker
SodaStream
Fountain Jet Starter Kit
Primo
Flavorstation
SodaSparkle
Home Soda Maker
Hamilton Beach
Fizzini Hand-Held
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Bottom Line

A bit better than the SodaStream because it will carbonate any liquid. If you can find one in stock, you will love it.

SodaStream is the "gold standard" when it comes to at-home soda machines, and this starter pack is a great value.

If you get a machine that doesn't fail, then you have a great unit that uses inexpensive carbonation units and you'll save money.

A decent machine for an affordable price.

We love the price and sheer portability of this unit. It is a bit hard to achieve the desired results, however.

Good

Classic KitchenAid style and durability. This metal and plastic design comes with a starter kit as well to help get you get the bubbles flowing.

Very easy to use, incredibly durable, and comes with everything you need to get started. Soda flavors have no corn syrup or aspartame.

Inexpensive carbonation units and can use SodaStream flavors.

Very compact, plus you can fully recyclable and disposable CO2 chargers.

Inexpensive to buy and operate. Easy to store.

Bad

Perpetually out of stock. If you can find one, you will like it.

New carbonation units are a bit on the pricey side, and you will go through a lot of them if you use the machine often.

Quality control is hit-or-miss.

May not carbonate as much as other soda makers. You have to have extra CO2 chargers on hand.

A bit complex to use. Carbonation units only good for one use.

Best of the Best
KitchenAid
Sparkling Beverage Maker
Check Price

Bottom Line
A bit better than the SodaStream because it will carbonate any liquid. If you can find one in stock, you will love it.

Bad
Perpetually out of stock. If you can find one, you will like it.

Good
Classic KitchenAid style and durability. This metal and plastic design comes with a starter kit as well to help get you get the bubbles flowing.
Best Bang for the Buck
SodaStream
Fountain Jet Starter Kit
Check Price

Bottom Line
SodaStream is the "gold standard" when it comes to at-home soda machines, and this starter pack is a great value.

Bad
New carbonation units are a bit on the pricey side, and you will go through a lot of them if you use the machine often.

Good
Very easy to use, incredibly durable, and comes with everything you need to get started. Soda flavors have no corn syrup or aspartame.
Primo
Flavorstation
Check Price

Bottom Line
If you get a machine that doesn't fail, then you have a great unit that uses inexpensive carbonation units and you'll save money.

Bad
Quality control is hit-or-miss.

Good
Inexpensive carbonation units and can use SodaStream flavors.
SodaSparkle
Home Soda Maker
Check Price

Bottom Line
A decent machine for an affordable price.

Bad
May not carbonate as much as other soda makers. You have to have extra CO2 chargers on hand.

Good
Very compact, plus you can fully recyclable and disposable CO2 chargers.
Hamilton Beach
Fizzini Hand-Held
Check Price

Bottom Line
We love the price and sheer portability of this unit. It is a bit hard to achieve the desired results, however.

Bad
A bit complex to use. Carbonation units only good for one use.

Good
Inexpensive to buy and operate. Easy to store.
How We Decided
  • 56 Models Considered
  • 12 Hours Spent
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 114 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide For The Best Soda Makers

    For those who love their soda — truly love their soda — the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine is a revelation. This large red machine, seen in some restaurants and movie theaters, gives customers up to 165 individual soda flavor choices. The machine mixes syrup flavors with carbonated water to create the soda chosen from the touch screen.

    Having such a machine in your home probably isn’t practical. But if you like the idea of mixing your own soda, adding a soda maker to your kitchen appliance list is an interesting option.

    A soda maker is similar in size to a blender, so it’ll easily fit on a kitchen counter. And you can purchase a variety of syrups and other mix-ins to enhance your homemade soda.

    Some people use a soda maker to create homemade sparkling water for cocktails or other recipes.

    At BestReviews, we study the market to identify the best wares in a given product space. Our goal is to provide consumers with unbiased reviews of the choices seen in stores and online. We never accept free manufacturer samples; we buy our test products off of store shelves, just as you do.

    You can see our top picks for soda makers in the above matrix. If you’d like to learn more about what sets the best soda makers apart from the rest, please read our soda maker shopping guide.

    If you’re someone who likes experimenting with food, creating unique sodas can be a nice way to expand into experimenting with beverages.

    How Soda Makers Work

    A soda maker adds carbon dioxide to water to create carbonated water, or what some people call “fizzy” or “sparkling” water. You can then add syrup to the carbonated water to create flavored soda.

    You can use tap water as a base for the soda, but you’ll need to buy syrups for flavored soda.

    Depending on the type of soda machine you own, you’ll also need to purchase carbon dioxide cartridges, tablets, or pods to inject the carbonation into the water.

    To maintain the fizz in your soda longer, keep the lid closed whenever not drinking it, and keep it refrigerated.

    Adding Carbonation

    Many soda makers require these basic steps to create carbonated water:

    • Install a carbon dioxide cartridge in the machine.
    • Insert the water bottle.
    • Push a button (or flip a lever) to begin the carbonation process.

    Depending on its size, a single carbon dioxide cartridge can create anywhere from one quart to fifteen gallons of sparkling water. You may suppose a larger cartridge would be more convenient because you wouldn’t have to replace it as often. However, some soda makers only accept one specific cartridge size.

    A few soda makers use dissolvable tablets instead of a cartridge. Still others use a pod system similar to that of a single-serve coffee maker. If you select a soda maker that uses a tablet or pod system, understand that you won’t be able to control the concentration of carbonation in your final product.

    There are claims by many people to have made sparkling wine using their soda machines.
    Considerations

    How Much Carbonation?

    The more carbon dioxide you use, the more “bite” you’ll taste in your sparkling water. A quality machine allows you to personally select the amount of carbonation you want. The machine may require you to choose from an on-screen menu or press a button representing a specific concentration. Or, it may let you know how much carbonation is present via an LED display.

    Considerations

    Time to Complete Carbonation?

    The time required to complete the carbonation process varies depending on the machine. Some soda makers can inject the carbon dioxide in about 30 seconds; others require three or four minutes. In general, the less carbon dioxide you use, the less time it will take to carbonate the water.

    Before choosing a soda maker, consult the product specs to determine the type of carbon dioxide cartridges (or tablets or pods) you’ll need to buy.

    Types of Carbonated Drinks

    All fizzy drinks are not created equal. Below, we define the different types that are available, most of which can be created with a soda-making machine.

    Types of carbonated drinks

    Club Soda

    To create club soda, you’ll usually be adding potassium bicarbonate to tap water. This process is not something most soda makers can do. You can also add other ingredients, like sodium citrate, to create different flavors of club soda.

    Do not carbonate anything other than water in your soda maker if you want to avoid a sticky mess.
    Types of carbonated drinks

    Flavored Soda

    If you want to create orange soda, cola, or fizzy water of another flavor, you must first create carbonated water with your soda maker. Then, you must add flavored syrup to the drink.

    Types of carbonated drinks

    Seltzer and Sparkling Water

    Both seltzer and sparkling water consist of carbon dioxide mixed with water. No flavoring or other minerals are added to this type of water. Soda makers can create this beverage.

    Types of carbonated drinks

    Tonic

    To create tonic, you must first create sparkling water with your soda maker. Then, you must add a tonic mix to the sparkling water.

    Most soda maker manufacturers sell things like soda flavoring or tonic mix. However, you may be able to save money by buying these supplies from other sources.

    Other Considerations

    Considerations

    Machine Size

    Some soda makers require more counter space than others, and some stand taller than others. Before buying a machine, make sure its dimensions would fit your available space.

    Considerations

    Power

    Some soda makers require electrical power to inject the carbon dioxide into the water. These machines must be plugged into a wall outlet.  

    Other units, like the SodaStream Jet Fountain in our product matrix, don’t need electricity; pressure from the carbon dioxide cartridge mixes the sparkling water. Soda makers that don’t require electricity may include a battery to operate LED lights.

    Do not under- or over-fill the bottle with water when making soda. One can cause the gas to fill the empty part of the bottle rather than carbonating the water, while the other can make the fizz spill out all over your countertop.
    Considerations

    Ease of Use

    Some soda makers are easier to use than others. For example, you may find that the tap water bottle snaps easily into place — or you may find yourself awkwardly trying to screw the bottle into place with a bit of elbow grease. Some carbon dioxide cartridges are easier to replace than others, too.

    Considerations

    Ease of Cleaning

    Of course, you’ll want to clean your soda maker in between uses to avoid the hazardous buildup of bacteria or mold. Notably, some machines are easier to take apart than others, and some require hand washing because the parts aren’t safe in the dishwasher.

    Surprisingly, some soda makers are really loud! Some create lots of noise during operation, and some use alarms to indicate the end of the carbonation process. If desired, look for a quiet machine.

    Cost of Operation

    Although a soda maker can be a fun appliance to have in your kitchen, don’t automatically assume you’re going to save a bunch of money by using it. Your costs will include the purchase of the machine, replacement cartridges, and syrups. If you think you’re going to be able to save money by making your own cola at home (versus buying bottles of Coke or Pepsi at the store), you could be disappointed.

    Cost of operation

    Machine Costs

    You could pay anywhere from $50 to $400+ for a soda maker. Machines that allow you to control the level of carbonation cost more, as do some name brand appliances. Though it costs a fair amount, we’re quite pleased with the KitchenAid Sparkling Beverage Maker on our shortlist — as are many owners.

    If you buy a soda maker from an established brand, you’re likely to have an easier time finding replacement cartridges.
    Cost of operation

    Operational Costs

    A cheap soda maker may appeal to your wallet initially, but in the long run, it may carry higher operational costs. We advise potential buyers to keep these tips in mind:

    • It pays to be prepared. Research the cost of replacement cartridges or tablets for a specific model before investing in it.
    • Some manufacturers provide a “cost per liter” estimate in their marketing materials. This is helpful information to have.
    • As a general rule, systems that require smaller cartridges cost more to operate than a systems that use larger cartridges.
    • Some manufacturers may try to make their machines appear more desirable, price-wise, by including extra cartridges or soda syrups with the initial purchase. Whether this represents a true savings depends on how often you will use the machine.
    Cost of operation

    Other Costs

    • Injecting a higher concentration of carbonation into the water will cost more in the long run. If you prefer your sparkling water to have more “bite,” it follows that you’ll need to change cartridges more often.
    • A soda maker that requires electrical power will cost a little more to operate than one that doesn’t. For many consumers, however, the additional expense is negligible.

    If your soda maker can only use cartridges made by the manufacturer, you could void your warranty by using a cartridge from another manufacturer.

    Tips and Tricks

    Soda makers are rather simple pieces of equipment, but you can make the most of your machine by observing these tips and tricks.

    • Use cold water for best results. Most soda maker manufacturers recommend the use of cold tap water, as carbon dioxide gas mixes better with cold water than room temperature water. Cold water also requires less carbon dioxide to achieve the same level of “fizziness” as room temperature water. So using cold water will save you money on cartridge replacement in the long run.
    • Have fun experimenting. Playing around with carbonation levels and syrup mixtures may lead to the discovery of a delicious new beverage. It may also lead to an awful-tasting flop, but you’ll never know until you try. Our advice: don’t be afraid to experiment with your soda maker!
    • Refrigerate your fizzy water. Carbonated water made with a soda machine won’t remain fizzy for quite as long as the soda or seltzer purchased from a store. But if you store it in the refrigerator, the water should maintain its level of carbonation for three to five days before starting to go flat.
    You could potentially save a little money on a new cartridge by exchanging your empty carbon dioxide cartridges for full ones. The old cartridges are recycled.

    FAQs

    Q: What’s the most important feature of a quality soda maker?

    A: Having the ability to choose and adjust the level of carbonation in your beverage is perhaps the most useful feature in a soda-making machine. This is important because the concentration of carbonation in the water greatly affects the way the sparkling water tastes. However, a machine with this capability tends to cost more.

    Notably, you cannot control the degree of carbonation with a machine that uses tablets or pods.

    Q: Is a soda siphon the same as a soda maker?

    A: No, these are different devices.

    Two types of soda siphons are available for purchase. One type is a bottle that contains pre-carbonated water. (Some people call it a seltzer bottle.) Another type of soda siphon is a bottle of tap water with a plastic top screwed onto it. The plastic part contains a small carbon dioxide cartridge that carbonates the water as you expel it from the plastic siphon.

    As we’ve discussed in this shopping guide, a soda maker is a machine that adds carbon dioxide to tap water to create carbonated water. The carbon dioxide cartridge fits inside the machine.

    Most soda makers can create far more carbonated water at a time than a soda siphon.

    Q: How long does a soda maker last?

    A: As long as you keep the parts of the machine cleaned properly, a soda maker should last several years. Most manufacturers recommend a cleaning schedule for you.

    That said, a machine that’s made of metal will probably last longer than one made of plastic. Metal options include aluminum and stainless steel. The KitchenAid Sparkling Beverage Maker on our list is made of premium die cast metal. It costs more than some other options, but if you’re really into making your own soda, this could be the right option for you.

    Q: Can I use any bottle with my soda maker?

    A: Unfortunately, no. The bottle needs to be able to fit inside the machine. If it doesn’t fit properly or is loose in the machine, the process of adding carbonation may knock the bottle out of place. This could result in water leakage and a significant mess.

    Some bottles must be screwed into place. If you buy a product like this, the bottle shipped with the machine should have the correct threads. Other types of machines use a snapping mechanism to fit the bottle into place.

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